EVANSTON — Uinta County Public Health and the Wyoming Department of Health want Uinta County residents to be aware that three cases of pertussis have been diagnosed within the county since early August. Approximately 350 people were potentially exposed to the disease and letters have been mailed to those individuals with instructions on preventive treatment.
Kim Deti, public information officer with the Wyoming Department of Health, said of the three diagnosed cases, two were in children and one in an adult likely connected to the first case. In an email to the Herald Deti said, “Both cases in the children were what’s called breakthrough cases in kids who were up to date on their vaccinations.”
Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease that can cause serious illness in people of all ages and can be potentially life-threatening, especially for infants, said Deti. She said initial symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever and runny nose.
“Within two weeks, the cough may become more severe with periodic episodes of intense coughing which may be followed by vomiting,” said Deti. “These prominent coughing episodes can help distinguish pertussis from a regular cold.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website says pertussis is commonly referred to as whooping cough due to the need to take deep breaths following a coughing fit, which results in a “whooping” sound.
Deti said there are no special precautions being recommended for the community at large or for public schools when students return to classrooms next week.
“Vaccination is the most important strategy,” she said. “It is especially important for people who may be around infants to be vaccinated to help prevent passing on the disease to babies who are too young for full vaccination.”